Can’t we all just get along?
That’s the message from Gov. Bob McDonnell for fellow Republicans — and now rivals for the 2013 governor’s race — Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
Bolling and Cuccinelli haven’t spoken for a month — ever since the attorney general announced in early December that he would challenge the lieutenant governor in the primary next year.
“Let it be said for the record, I encourage them to talk,’’ McDonnell said in a recent interview.
McDonnell, who meets with Bolling and Cuccinelli frequently, said he has told both men that they should move past their political aspirations and work together to complete a successful legislative session and help elect a Republican president and U.S. senator.
“I understand people are going to make choices,’’ he said. “But I don’t want to hear about any conflicts, any problems...I tell them that all the time.”
The attorney general called the lieutenant governor after he told his staff he would run, but Bolling did not return his call, both men have acknowledged.
Instead, Bolling has issued a couple of scathing news releases about Cuccinelli — one responding to his decision in the governor’s race and another on the attorney general’s change of heart about getting more presidential candidates on the state’s GOP primary ballot.
Three years ago, Bolling and McDonnell, then attorney general, made a deal: McDonnell would run unopposed for the GOP nomination for governor, and four years later McDonnell would back Bolling for the state’s top job.
They, and Cuccinelli, ran as a ticket for the state’s three top jobs. But the days of the “Bob/Bill/Ken” bumperstickers seem long ago.
“I’ve encouraged everybody... that I don’t want to hear anything about this,’’ McDonnell said. “I have said it publicly and privately. I don’t want anything to get in the way or having a successful session where we have got only the second chance in history of having a Republican administration and a Republican legislature work together.”